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Missouri Appeals Court Upholds Punitive Damages Award in Mesothelioma Lawsuit

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for iStock-460053679.jpgA Missouri state appeals court recently upheld a substantial plaintiff’s verdict in an asbestos cancer lawsuit alleging that the defendant, an industrial parts manufacturer is to blame for the victim’s mesothelioma diagnosis and subsequent death. The defendant sought to overturn a jury’s order to pay the plaintiff’s estate $10 million in punitive damages as punishment for manufacturing engine gaskets containing deadly asbestos fibers.

The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that the plaintiff came in contact with asbestos dust from engine gaskets manufactured by Crane, Co. while working as a machinist aboard a World War II era ship. After the plaintiff lost his life to malignant mesothelioma in May of 2012, the victim’s widow filed suit against Crane to recover for her husband’s suffering and loss of services.

At trial, the jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded her $1.5 million in compensatory damages but went even further to include $10 million in punitive damages to punish the defendant for knowingly manufacturing such dangerous products. The defendant appealed the verdict in January of 2016, arguing that the plaintiff failed to prevent sufficient evidence linking the defendant’s products to the victim’s mesothelioma diagnosis.

Furthermore, the defendant claimed that the $10 million punitive damages award was excessive, violated its right to due process, and exceeded the state’s cap on such awards. The defendant also argued the lower court should have reduced the award, even in finding the plaintiff met her burden of proof.

$10 Million Award Upheld on Appeal

On appeal, the Court of Appeals of Missouri Eastern District determined that the plaintiff did in fact present sufficient evidence in keeping with established legal precedent, which allowed the jury to come to a fair conclusion. The appeals court ruled there was sufficient evidence to show the defendant manufactured a defective product and failed to warn the plaintiff about the very real dangers of adverse health effects.

As is often the case in mesothelioma cancer lawsuits, the defendants went to great lengths to skirt responsibility for their careless actions. Time and again, juries across the country have ruled on behalf of plaintiffs harmed by the careless disregard for public safety committed by large corporations committed only to increasing profits at the expense of others.

Hopefully, the jury’s fair award in this case will send a message to other companies that court will not tolerate indifference to the health and safety of workers. Mesothelioma cancer victims should strongly consider speaking to an experienced attorney about their own case to determine what types of compensation may be available through the courts and other means to help pay for their damages suffered.

Nationwide Mesothelioma Lawyer

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact our office to speak to one of our experienced nationwide mesothelioma attorneys about your situation. Our office can help investigate your case and determine if compensation can be sought from negligent parties to help pay for your medical treatment to help you and your family live a more comfortable life.

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